Keep Your Car Cool and Avoid a Hot-Weather Breakdown
Breaking down on the road is, for most, a costly inconvenience—call the tow truck, hope for a cheap fix, and salvage your day as best you can. But for drivers in Arizona, where the heat’s as extreme as the landscape is sparse, breakdowns can be worse than mere annoyances. So it follows that preventive maintenance is more than a chore; it should be a priority. In Phoenix, auto-repair shops see plenty of engine, battery, and tire troubles resulting from the heat. But with a bit of knowledge and prevention, drivers can understand and spot the issues before they arise at an inopportune time.
Faulty cooling systems or low fluids are some of the most common causes of car breakdowns. To stay ahead of the problem, get your coolant system checked and make sure the fluids are at their proper levels; that includes engine coolant, brake fluid, automatic transmission fluid, washer fluid and engine oil. If your car experiences trouble while you’re driving—if the temperature light goes on or you smell a weird odor, often a little sweet and smoky—turn off the AC and, contrary to what the sun and weather’s telling you, blast your heater. Pull over, at a mechanic if one’s close, or else call the tow truck. It’s always wise to keep a jug of water in your trunk, not just for drinking in an emergency but also in case there’s a radiator leak. Remember to never pull off the radiator cap until the car’s cooled down.
Though all extreme weather can cause problems for a battery, heat is a battery’s biggest foe. It can cause the fluid to evaporate, and once the battery’s dead, the car’s just a big paperweight. Most batteries can last five or so years, but it’s wise to get your battery tested and cleaned. Failing batteries can put strain on other parts of the car, like the alternator and generator, so it’s best to get it checked before the damage spreads and you end up in a parking lot with a key in your hand and a screeching sound in the air.
Tire care is critical no matter where you’re driving, and every climate or region has its own cautions and solutions. The dangers of the cold weather are known, but as the cold decreases air pressure, the heat increases it, which can be equally dangerous. Add on other factors—the weight of the car and its load, the speed, and the condition of the road—and it’s important to to stay on top of the air pressure, whether that means using your own gauge or dropping by a tire shop for a professional inspection.
Prevention and Repair
Inspections, tune-ups, and tire checks can be found all around Phoenix. Engine rebuilders specialize in the mechanics but will also be familiar with the area’s weather and the problem’s possible causes. In Phoenix, auto-body and auto-repair shops likewise should know how to spot climate-specific issues and service the car appropriately.